Bell trio primed for Plate mission

Michael Bell feels it is difficult to choose between his two runners in Saturday’s John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

Bell trio primed for Plate mission

Michael Bell feels it is difficult to choose between his two runners in Saturday’s John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

The Newmarket handler has targeted Activate and Tactician at the valuable contest, which he won in 2007 with Juniper Girl.

Tactician is owned by the Queen while Activate runs in the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing colours and the pair are separated by only 1lb in the weights.

“The ground is looking like it will be good which should suit them both as neither of them want extremes,” said Bell.

“It is probably more likely to be on the slower side if the forecasts are to be believed, and that could be a concern for Tactician, we’ll have to see.

“It is only Monday but the weather forecast looks slightly more in favour of Activate than Tactician at this stage.

“Both are lightly raced and potentially progressive. Activate was very impressive at Haydock and stayed very well.

“There’s 1lb between them on official ratings and it’s difficult to know which is best as you never work a horse over two miles.”

A maximum field looks likely as 57 horses remained at the five-day stage.

Donald McCain’s Overturn, last year’s winner, is now at the head of the weights following the withdrawals of Tastahill and La De Two.

Overturn was supposed to run at Ascot on Saturday but was taken out due to the soft ground.

Red Cadeaux is still in the race despite running at Pontefract on Sunday while Irish-trained Address Unknown and Mount Athos are also towards the head of the weights.

Ascot winner Fox Hunt, John Dunlop’s Harlestone Times and Junior are other interesting possibles.

Hayley Turner is due to ride Activate, and said on her Racing UK blog: ``The form of his last win has worked out really well, with the Queen Alexandra winner (Swingkeel) behind him at Haydock last month.

“I wasn’t on him that day as I was banned, but have ridden him on eight of his 10 runs, so know him really well and it’s an exciting ride.

“Ease in the ground will help his cause, too.”

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